By Pam Siegel and Leslie Zinberg

pam and leslieIn today’s rapid-paced society, many grandparents have become more and more involved in the day-to-day care of their grandchildren. So…when we became grandparents we had no idea what to expect. We had a vision of what we thought grandparenting would look like — have fun, say yes to everything, and then of course, at the end of the day, hand the kids back to their parents. However, we now know grandparenting is so much more.

As a result of dual-career and single-parent families, many of our adult children depend on us to help them navigate their complicated lives. We carpool to school and other activities, help with homework, and, if necessary, step in to handle discipline issues. At the same time, we must keep our comments to ourselves, especially when our grown children’s wishes and rules differ from our own. This can be tricky.

The impetus for writing our book, Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice, is to help grandparents manage these joyful, and sometimes complex, issues in a more “mindful” way. Mindfulness has taught us that it’s not about spoiling our grandchildren; instead, it’s about showing up and modeling good values. It’s focusing on “presence above presents.”

We asked a variety of grandparents to share their favorite anecdotes about being mindful with their grandchildren. These funny, poignant, heartfelt stories accompany 52 moments of hands-on activities and games, thought-provoking quotes, and simple meditations.

Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice helps grandparents and grandchildren effectively and lovingly relate and operate in the present together. These moments can be practiced in several different ways; for example, concentrate on one of the moments that addresses a special need for you or your grandchild, such as “Prepare for Sleep” when dealing with challenges at bedtime. Or jump around to a different page, and pick whatever speaks to you at the present time. Some moments are better suited for younger children, like “Breathe with the Bear,” while others are more appropriate for older children, such as “Take a Break from Your Cell.” Perfection is not required; go at your own speed.

Keep the book at your bedside, and make it a habit to bring mindfulness into your daily life and the lives of your grandchildren.